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Tech Front: New Nanoscale Compounds for Better CNG Storage



Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe

2/1/2015

Researchers at Rice University (Houston) have published a new study on nanoscale materials composed of metal organic frameworks (MOF) that could be used to devise more practical storage systems used with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Today’s CNG-powered buses and trucks typically use very bulky tanks that store natural gas at very high pressure. Full Article

UpFront: Fill Up Your Tank--and Find a New Playbook



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

2/1/2015

A few years back, the US Energy Information Administration predicted that the US would achieve energy self-sufficiency in two decades. Thanks largely to fracking, the US was on its way to becoming the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons. If only that game-changing prediction came with a new playbook. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Dynamic Solution for Small Oil-Parts Production



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

2/1/2015

Shamrock Precision Inc. (Farmers Branch, TX) makes a specialty of manufacturing small precision parts—typically 2–9" (51–229-mm) long for downhole oil well applications.The company has gained a solid reputation for manufacturing reliable products that are designed to break and release electromechanical equipment into action once a specific amount of force is exerted on them. Full Article

Oil Patch Risks and Rewards



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

2/1/2015

Two of the key drivers of the oil & gas industry are demand and gears. Demand travels in essentially two directions: up and down. If you ignore the obvious—that gears go around—in the oil & gas industry as in almost all manufacturing, gears only go in one direction: They get better, i.e., stronger and more reliable. And stronger, more reliable gears are extremely important because downtime is extremely expensive in the oil patch. Full Article

Workholding Innovations Proliferate for the Oil Patch



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

2/1/2015

Demand for oil-field components, and the machines that produce them, has been humming along nicely for the past few years. With strong growth in natural-gas hydrofracking and shale-oil production, manufacturers that build oil-field pipeline gear have turned to the latest advanced manufacturing equipment that includes multitasking machines (MTM) for milling and turning applications requiring state-of-the-art, modular workholding to handle workpieces used in oil-country applications. Full Article

Advanced Technologies for Machining Oil-Field Parts



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

1/23/2015

Despite falling oil prices, the investment valve in the oil and gas industry remains on—for now—as manufacturers continue their race to provide large, precision parts for fracking, subsea drilling and other related activities. But as anybody in the energy sector knows: this is the land of boom or bust. So when the going is good, the industry can’t source pumps, drill bits and drilling equipment, tubular stock, and valves fast enough. Full Article

Tesla CEO: Battery Plant Will Succeed, More Vehicle Factories Likely



Senior Editor Bill Koenig

1/14/2015

Tesla Motors Inc.’s planned “gigafactory” in Nevada will succeed in cutting the cost of making batteries and the maker of electric cars is likely to add more vehicle-assembly plants in the long run, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in Detroit on Jan. 13.Musk was asked at the Automotive News World Congress whether the battery operation will reduce battery prices by 30%. Full Article

Low Oil Prices Challenge US Manufacturers



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

1/12/2015

A few years back, the US Energy Information Administration predicted that the US would achieve energy self-sufficiency in two decades. Thanks largely to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the US was fast on its way to becoming the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons. If only that game-changing prediction came with a playbook. Full Article

GE’s UNIK 5000 Pressure Sensing Platform Now Carries INMETRO and NEPSI Intrinsic Safety Certifications



Press Release - GE

1/2/2015

The UNIK 5000 pressure sensing platform from the Druck product line of GE Measurement & Control now carries the Brazilian INMETRO and the Chinese NEPSI Intrinsic Safety certifications. As a result, UNIK 5000 pressure sensors can now be used throughout these countries in hazardous zone applications in the oil and gas and process industries, as well as in power generation and mining. Full Article

Tech Front: New Conductive Polymer Nanocomposites Hold Promise for Portable Devices



Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe

1/1/2015

Researchers at Drexel University (Philadelphia) have developed a strong, flexible, electrically conductive nanocomposite material that could be used to power future wearable energy storage devices. The conductive MXene-polymer nanocomposite material, created by researchers in Drexel’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in collaboration with scientists at Dalian University of Technology in China, is very flexible yet has the strength to support many times its own weight. Full Article

Tech Front: Hybrid Semiconductor Phosphors Emerge for Low-Cost LED Lighting



Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe

12/1/2014

A team of researchers at Rutgers University (Piscataway, NJ) have designed new materials that could change the way household light bulbs are manufactured. With the phase-out of traditional incandescent light bulbs in the US and other countries, lighting manufacturers have looked for more energy-efficient lighting alternatives in the form of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Full Article

Fed Says Industrial Production Fell in October



Senior Editor Bill Koenig

11/17/2014

US industrial production slid 0.1% in October, dragged down by decreases in automotive and paper products, the Federal Reserve said in a statement. The decline follows a 0.8% rise in September. The Fed defines the industrial sector as manufacturing, mining and electric and gas utilities. Full Article

Seeking a Good Rate of No Returns



Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from material provided by Qualmark.

11/12/2014

Faced with uncertain profit margins in an even more uncertain economy, the leaders of manufacturing enterprises find themselves scrutinizing every aspect of their business model to find ways to shave costs. Profitability targets are moving targets, while geopolitical concerns that pose the threat of creating economic trouble loom.
Full Article

Weld Inspection Keeps Energy Flowing and America Safe



Ivan Winkler, Certified Welding Instuctor, TÜV Rheinland

11/12/2014

When most people look up at a towering wind turbine, read about fracking in the Bakken region, or discuss construction of a nuclear plant, the last thing they think about is welds. Yet, safe welds are one of the most important elements keeping oil, gas or power flowing to their destinations. Given that I am a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), welds are pretty much all I think about during work hours. Full Article

GM Chief Announces Michigan Volt Investment



Senior Editor Bill Koenig

10/28/2014

General Motors Co. will produce the electric drive unit for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt at the company’s transmission plant in Warren, MI, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said at the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday.The electric drive for the current generation of the Volt has been produced in Mexico. Full Article

A Kilowatt is a Terrible Thing to Waste



Glenn Nausley, President, PromessInc.

10/21/2014

It is no coincidence that hydraulics became the default technology for pressing applications during the century of cheap energy. Well, that century is over and today’s reality is very different. It is highly unlikely we will ever see energy that cheap again, which means, among other things, that it’s time to rethink the way we use electricity to generate kinetic energy in a broad range of pressing applications. Full Article

Set Yourself Up for Success in Oil and Gas



J.R. Quiles, Heavy Industry Program Manager, FANUC America

10/21/2014

J.R. Quiles, Heavy Industry Program Manager, FANUC America

The outlook for the oil & gas industry appears to be very positive for 2014 and 2015, which is good news since it is one of the world’s largest industries. As high accuracy and tight tolerances are required on machined parts, revenues in this industry tend to be invested in new technology to increase production and improve product quality. All markets in manufacturing have been affected by the lack of skilled workers and oil & gas is no different. Products and technology that help less experienced workers increase part accuracy and productivity will help offset this situation. Full Article

Wisdom Grows as Waste Shrinks



James D. Sawyer, Executive Editor

10/7/2014

Waste not, want not. Or as R. Buckminster Fuller noted, “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” We are getting wiser in this regard, especially in terms of turning waste into energy in the manufacturing sector. Full Article

Pipe Dream Comes True



Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information supplied by Seco Tools LLC

10/7/2014

Most consider threading a simple secondary turning operation, but nothing could be further from the truth at Borusan Mannesmann Pipe US Inc. (Baytown, TX). This industry-leading steel pipe manufacturer produces more than 300,000 tons (272,160 t) of pipe per year, and each piece—some greater than 13" (330 mm) in diameter and 40' (12.2-m) long—needs to be threaded at both ends. Full Article

Training Tomorrow’s Energy Engineers



John Smegal

9/2/2014

The Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) program is a workforce development initiative aimed at creating the next generation of energy engineers. IAC graduates possess a unique mixture of engineering and energy management expertise, combined with hands-on experience obtained by working directly with small- and medium-size manufacturing facilities across the country. The federal government has been supporting the IAC program—formerly known as the Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Centers—since 1976. Although initially housed within the US Department of Commerce, the program was transferred to the US Department of Energy in 1980. Full Article

Batteries Up!



Steve Bryan

8/6/2014

While still not quite ready for the major leagues, using batteries for grid storage is establishing a solid base. Full Article

Rays of Hope, Clouds of Doubt



Bruce Morey

8/6/2014

The nuclear power industry shows signs of recovery, but risks of many kinds are scattered across the path to the future. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Safe, Productive Fume Extraction Technology



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

7/1/2014

Vermeer Corp., a family-owned and operated company was founded in Pella, IA, in 1948. Vermeer provides agricultural and industrial equipment to customers in more than 60 nations for industries including biomass, landscaping, pipeline, surface mining, tree care, and utility installation. For Vermeer, building a quality product for customers starts with a foundation of well-trained, skilled employees who are valued as its most important resource. Full Article

Keeping Energy Production in High Gear



Joel Neidig, Technology Manager, ITAMCO

6/16/2014

Worldwide demand for energy is growing. Fortunately, so too is the technology for producing energy. This is where the gear—that humble mechanical cogwheel that quietly goes about its job of rotating and delivering torque to various pieces of machinery—has an important role to play. Full Article

BIG M 2014: Why Manufacturers Ought to be Institutionalized



Michael C. Anderson Senior Editor

6/12/2014

National Network of Manufacturing Institutes leaders answer questions at The Big M event Full Article

Transforming Necessity into Opportunity



Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information supplied by CNC Software

6/5/2014

Until the mid-’90s Precision Fluorocarbon Inc. (PFI; Tomball,TX) was a nonmetallic machining business primarily serving the energy marketplace—the oil & gas industry in particular. After a severe downturn hit the oil business, the company was faced with the problem/opportunity of translating its unique competencies into other fields.  Full Article

Making the Most of the Wind



Edited by Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

6/4/2014

How much electricity can a turbine construction more than 328' (110-m) tall generate? How can you ensure the assembly of any wind turbine runs smoothly when there is only one chance to put it together? Vestas Nacelles (Lem, Denmark) answers those questions with a strict quality policy enabled by high-capacity portable measuring systems. Full Article

Future is Bright for US Energy Production



James Crompton, Industry Research Analyst, IBISWorld

6/4/2014

The US is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of energy, and this trend is expected to continue over the five years, to 2019. Improving technologies and techniques have enabled both oil & gas extractors and mining companies of all types to improve their operational efficiencies; consequently, manufacturers of machinery and equipment for these sectors have increasingly been experiencing strong demand for their products. Full Article

Quality Scan: Track Your Pipes—From the Cradle to the Grave



Ivan Winkler, CWI, Senior Manager, Field Operations North America, TUV Rheinland Industrial Solutions

6/1/2014

Across the US, miles of piping are being placed and replaced due to new fracking projects. If structural integrity of pipes is compromised during manufacture, storage, delivery or installation, it may result in coating damage, which in turn will lead to pipe corrosion, causing gas leaks. This can increase project costs down the road and even endanger safety and health of personnel, the public and environment. Full Article

Heller Looks To Pump Up the Energy



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

5/30/2014

Motorized vehicles were frequently mentioned during Heller WerkTage (literally Working Days) 2014 held at company headquarters in Nürtingen, Germany. That’s not surprising for a number of reasons. For one Nürtingen is not far from Stuttgart, where Karl Benz invented what is considered to be the first automobile. Benz was granted a patent for his invention in 1886. Eight years later the company now known as Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH was founded in Nürtingen.In the intervening 120 years both companies have grown and most often prospered. That’s illustrated by a little-known fact: since 2004 about 80% of the machining for heavy truck engines has been done on Heller machines.
Full Article

PSI Repair Services to Showcase at AWEA WINDPOWER 2014



PSI Repair Services, Inc.

4/23/2014

PSI Repair Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries and leading independent service provider (ISP) to the wind energy industry, will showcase its extensive product upgrade capabilities to wind farm operations and maintenance (O&M) professionals at the AWEA WINDPOWER 2014 Conference & Exhibition.This flexible, cost-effective engineering service involves enhancing legacy components with newer, more reliable technology to improve performance and extend the component’s life. Full Article

Tech Front - New Carbon Nanotubes Outperform Copper as Electrical Conductors



Patrick Waurzyniak, Senior Editor and Ellen Kehoe, Senior Editor

4/1/2014

Carbon nanotube-based fibers created at Rice University (Houston) show that on a pound-per-pound basis, the nanotube fibers have more capacity to conduct electrical current than copper. Although individual nanotubes can transmit nearly 1000 times more current than copper, the same tubes coalesced into a fiber using other technologies fail long before reaching that capacity. Full Article

Technology Goes Deep on Land and Subsea



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

2/1/2014

You would have to go 5000–6000' (1524–1829 m) under water to see the AZ-10 fully concentric vertical mono-bore subsea tree operating in its natural working habitat. The AZ-10 subsea tree manufactured by Argus Subsea (Houston) is off-the-shelf hardware that can operate effectively anywhere a rig can power a blowout preventer (BOP). Full Article

UpFront: Energy Revolution Here to Stay



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

2/1/2014

As a nation, we’ve already crossed the threshold and entered a new era of energy production. Consider: the US Energy Information Administration estimates that the US will be the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia.  Full Article

A Network of Little Silicon Valleys



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

1/31/2014

One of the biggest moments of the 2014 State of the Union was President Barack Obama’s announcement of six new manufacturing hubs, or innovation institutes. Two are already in the works, including “America Makes,” the additive manufacturing hub, in Youngstown, OH, and the recently announced wide bandgap semiconductor hub in Raleigh, NC. Together, these institutes, Obama said in his address to Congress, give us "the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.”

Full Article

ABB Wins Zayed Future Energy Prize 2014



ABB

1/24/2014

ABB, the global power and automation technology group, has been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2014 in recognition of its efforts to drive innovation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. "It is a great honor to have won the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2014,” said ABB Chief Executive Officer, Ulrich Spiesshofer. Full Article

Fighting for the American Dream



Jim McKay, Editor, USW@Work, United Steelworkers Communications Dept.

1/10/2014

Elliott Group, a 103-year-old maker of advanced centrifugal compressors and steam turbines, is expanding its United Steelworkers (USW) workforce and investing $110 million into a US factory that was once a candidate for closure. That’s the result of a remarkable turnaround in labor-management relations at Elliott’s main US manufacturing plant that was sparked by a local union that did not want to die. Full Article

Big Investments in Oil & Gas



Manufacturing Engineering Media Staff

1/10/2014

The oil and gas industry is set for another year of record investment. According to recent analysis and report from IHS Global Inc. (Washington, D.C.), the recent surge in oil and gas transportation and storage infrastructure is not a short-lived phenomenon. Full Article

In this ‘Oil Patch’ They Speak with a Burr and Not a Drawl



Edited by Senior Editor James D. Sawyer from information provided by Hurco Companies Inc.

12/18/2013

Scotland has a robust contract manufacturing community that serves the oil & gas industry in the North Sea—and beyond. Full Article

Tooling Up for Fluid-End Machining



Don Halas, Threading and Grooving Product Manager, and Scott Turner, Drilling Product Manager, Seco Tools

12/18/2013

  Demand for fluid ends is rising because of increased drilling and the component’s short lifespan.    Full Article

Coupling Growth with Productivity



Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from material provided by Okuma America Corp.

12/18/2013

Automation helps provide LB Pipe with a competitive edge as well as a broader customer portfolio. Full Article

Making Light Work of Heavy-Duty Machining



Oliver Hagenlocher, Director of Marketing, EMAG Sales and Services GMBH

12/6/2013

The larger the component, the smaller the batch size—this is the way one could describe the demands made on heavy-duty machining in many branches of manufacturing. In fact, this simple equation provides as much of a challenge to wind turbine engineering and the production of large commercial vehicles as it does to, for instance, the railway construction industry. Full Article

Automation Beats Handmade Hands Down



Tony Tharp, Business Development Manager, Sunnen Products Co.

12/6/2013

The shale gas boom in the US is creating its own boom for producers of metering equipment. Meter tubes, also called “meter runs,” are critical parts of the orifice gas meter, a device that’s been used for more than a century to measure gas flows. Millions of meter tubes are used worldwide, usually at custody transfer points to determine billing amounts. Full Article

Rocking the Hard Metal



Dale Petts, Global Product Manager of Metal Products, Simonds International

12/6/2013

Due to rising fuel costs, there is a strong trend to manufacture turbines and engines with higher fuel efficiency to meet today’s energy challenges. One approach manufacturers are taking is to design these units to operate at a hotter temperature. Full Article

Clean and Green Goes Beyond Just Cars and Trucks



David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability, General Motors Co.

11/27/2013

Efforts to decrease dependence on petroleum and reduce carbon emissions extend beyond General Motors vehicles to our global manufacturing footprint. We are an industrial leader in ongoing energy and emissions reductions. Sound energy management policies help define manufacturing excellence, represent effective cost savings and offer obvious environmental benefits. Full Article

Focus on the Workforce: Training Tomorrow's Energy Engineers



John Smegal, Workforce Development Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Office, US Department of Energy

11/22/2013

The Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) program is a workforce development initiative aimed at creating the next generation of energy engineers. IAC graduates possess a unique mixture of engineering and energy management expertise, combined with hands-on experience obtained by working directly with small- and medium-size manufacturing facilities across the country. Full Article

New Challenge for Automation



ABB Group.

11/11/2013

Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants represent a new challenge for automation. The ratio of about 400 I/O signals per MW is one of the highest in power generation. The system tags also have an extremely high ratio of about 3500 tags per MW. Full Article

A Fresh Twist on Making Turbine Models



Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information provided by Siemens Industry Inc.

11/11/2013

MCE Maschinen und Apparatebau GmbH (MCE; Linz, Austria) produces various components for large gas, steam, and water turbines, as well as for wind power stations and other segments of energy production. Full Article

A Double Infusion of Extra Energy



David Yang, Industry Analyst, IBISWorld

11/1/2013

Cheaper fuel will provide a boom in—and prove a boon to—US manufacturing. Full Article

JCI Looks to Batteries and Seats to Help Promote Fuel Savings



James D. Sawyer Senior Editor

10/18/2013

There were many areas Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI; Milwaukee) focused on during its Automotive Day October 15 at its facility in Plymouth, MI, but the two that stood out most can be summed up as electric and chairs. A large diversified company (workforce: 168,000) with a footprint in more than 150 countries, JCI supplies two-thirds of the lead-acid batteries consumed by automakers and the aftermarket. Also, it was the first company to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass production hybrid vehicles. Full Article



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